Natural Biofortification Program (NBP) in China

1.Initiated by: International Society for Selenium Research (ISSR)

2.Duration: June 2018 – December 2020

3.Research Area: Enshi, Hubei, China

4.Project: This project is the second international cooperation on selenium in Enshi since the 1980s

5.Objective: Recognition ofthe  safe range of daily selenium intake  based on food intake and selenium speciation


6.1 Selenium accumulation and transformation efficiency via food chains

Soils, water, staple crops and animals will be sampled in high Se , moderate Se, and Se-deficient areas in Enshi region, Hubei, China to investigate their total, speciation and bioavailable Se content. and Se   This information will provide answers on the accumulation and transformation efficiency for Se entering the food chain from different Se level areas in Enshi.

6.2 Selenium bioavailability assessment in food products

Staple crops and animals will be assessed for selenium bioavailability, which will provide additional informations for understanding selenium dietary intake in humans.

6.3 Selenium dietary intake survey and humans health evaluation

The Se dietary intakes from local residents will be investigated via dietary survey. Hair, blood and urine samples will be collected from local residents after signed permission has been obtained. The Se contents will be analyzed in these samples, and the lipid metabolism indicators and the antioxidant indicators (eg. GPx) will also be determined in the blood samples.

6.4 Calculation of safe  daily selenium intake range based on food intake and selenium speciation


7.Project Achievements: Publish SCI articles.


International Team:

Gary Banuelos, ARS-USDA, USA

Jean Hall, Oregon University, USA

Joel Caton, North Dakota State University, USA

Lutz Schomburg, Charite-Medical University Berlin, Germany

Gijs Du Laing, Ghent University, Belgium

Graham Lyons, University of Adelaide, Australia


Chinese Team:

Xuebin Yin, University of Science and Technology of China, China

Linxi Yuan, Jiangsu Bio-Engineering Research Centre for Selenium, China

Dongli Liang, Northern West Forestry University, China

Tao Li, Yangzhou University, China

Shuxin Tu, Huazhong Agriculture University, China


Local Team:

Enshi Agriculture Academy Science, Enshi, Hubei



9.1 Pre-study in Shitai, Anhui, China

From 2014 to 2016, the pre-study on NBP was carried out in a natural Se-rich area within Shitai County (E 117°12´–117°59´, N 29°59´–30°24´), Anhui, China, where a “long life” village exist. In this village, the population has a low rate of cancer and a high percentage of elders (>80 years;about 12% of the total population). A recent survey (Anhui Bureau of Geological Survey in 2014, unpublished data) showed that soil Se contents in the Shitai area ranged from 0.05 to 51.20 mg/kg, with an average of 0.56 mg/kg.  Moreover, about 405 km2 in Shitai is classified as having Se-rich soils (> 0.4 mg/kg) according to Tan (1989).

A Se-rich village (Dashan) and a Se-deficient  village (Kushan) were selected as study areas. These two villages are  10 km apart  with very similar environmental conditions, including altitude (about 400 m) and living styles.

The results show that Shitai County had significant variation in Se levels in soils, foods, resident dietary intake (Dashan with 58.29 µg/day vs. Kushan with 22.21 µg/day), and Se content in local resident plasma (Dashan with 114.66±26.66 µg/L vs. Kushan with 83.04±25.42 µg/L) and hair (Dashan with 351.35±179.15 µg/kg vs. Kushan with 274.77±103.80 µg/kg).  Preliminary results indicate that Dashan Village and Kushan Village could be used as unique field sites to investigate the relationship between Se and human health.

9.2 Pre-study in Enshi, Hubei, China (Linxi-please fix your SDs in table 1 for dashan and kushan for soybean, chinese cabbage, radish and definitly garlic! The values now are unacceptable!)

In 2017 a pre-study on NBP was carried out in the Enshi area, known as “Se capital of world”.  A Se-deficient village (Changping), a Se-moderate village (Sancha), and a Se-toxic village (Yutangba) were selected as sites for collecting soils, staple crops and hair samples.  The results revealed that the Se content in the staple crops significantly varied because of various Se levels in the soils. However, the Se content in the hair samples did not exhibit significant differences.